Domino

Chapter One: A Wanted Man

I do not own Star Trek. There, I said it :-) and now thats out of everybody's system, please read on...


Leonard McCoy jolted awake with such force that his head snapped back from the pillow he's buried his face into as he slept. His heart was racing and sweat trickled down his neck as he pushed away from the crinkled sheets he'd been lying on top of. He was still fully clothed, his blue uniform top darkened by perspiration. He got up and headed across to the sink, stripping away his shirt as he went. He leaned over the small sink, splashing his face with cool water, washing away the heat and the fear while the remaining tendrils of the nightmare retreated from his conscious mind.

He made his way to the desk and sank wearily into the chair, leaning forwards onto the desk top and glancing at the chronometer on his wall.

02:00.

Just over an hour since his night staff had shooed him from sickbay, reasoning that nothing could be so important that it shouldn't wait a couple of hours for him to get some sleep.

Sleep? He mused, a hollow chuckle escaping from his lips, now that was a laugh.

It was usually him that counselled others through their insomnia, now he wanted nothing more than to trip on over to Jim's quarters and ask him with a cheerful grin to return the favour.

He squeezed his eyes shut at the uncomfortable memory of their first conversation since Leonard had returned to the ship and to his role as Chief Medical Officer.

Nobody had taken his place, and the Enterprise had been on light duties because of its reduced capacity to cope with trauma. Dr M'Benga had stood up as Acting CMO and nobody understood why their ship's surgeon had taken sudden leave of his ship, his crew, his family.

The sense of betrayal had been written all over Jim Kirks face as he met his former friend in transporter room one.

McCoy had been dreading the moment, but nothing could have prepared him for the carefully controlled anger in the Captains eyes, or the way his voice shook with it as he spoke.

Some hope inside of McCoy died in that instance. The hope that he could return to how things were before, that he could heal, comforted by the presence of the friends he'd missed so much, the family he'd left behind.

He stared straight ahead, a grim and familiar numbness flooding his senses, and drawing himself sharply to attention as was customary he asked for permission to board.

James Kirk paused and seemed to consider the man standing before him for a moment, trying to make sense of what he saw, for that man was not what he had expected at all; he was… different.

Finally he spoke, "I wasn't surprised when I received news of your reassignment here. Although I usually reserve the right to make my own choice in such matters, it would seem I have none."

Kirk waited, observing. McCoy didn't flinch. At last, the scrutiny ended.

"Permission granted. I believe you know your duties." Kirk turned on his heel and left McCoy and the transported technician with each other's company. McCoy didn't say a word as he shouldered his bag and dismounted the platform.

"Sir?" the technician called from his station causing McCoy to pause by the door, "It's good to have you back Sir."

He nodded gently in acknowledgment, and continued on his way.

xxx0xxx

Four months, five days and seven hours previously McCoy had just finished a particularly long and boring shift sorting through, writing and vetting annual performance appraisals.

There was nothing worse, and as the head of the science department, Spock read through every single one picking them apart for grammar, accuracy and efficacy prior to submission back to Personnel at Starfleet command. It sent his nurses mad, and that afternoon, several of his staff had made their way moodily into his office to discuss the next reason that a report was unfit for submission.

"The report does not effectively evidence the grades attributed to the performance indicators…" Nurse Francis had read, "What the hell is that supposed to mean? I mean, I've written up the same medic three times already and each time he's found fault!"

McCoy sighed, "Leah, he wants you to give examples of when Ensign Jonah has demonstrated the attributes which lead you to give him a specific grade."

"Well I did that already Doctor, and he said the report was too long! 'lacked efficiency and brevity' I think were his words…"

"So try to summarise, look, grab two cups of coffee, I'll find you a good example and we'll work from there ok?"

Four hours and five more cups of coffee later and McCoy had finished proof reading and editing the last report.

He got up from his office desk stiffly and stretched. He was making his mind up to head down to the gym for an hour before turning in when his screen alerted him to a new message. Fully expecting it to be Spock working late he opened the message for a cursory look before setting off.

What flashed up in his messages was not a stream of further admin pointers from their beloved first officer but a high definition micro image of a ribonucleic acid strand, rotating slowly on his screen. Intrigued, he stepped forward for a closer look.

The terminal went blank, replaced by an alert:

Starfleet Security

Highly Classified Content

Request ID verification

He moved a hand to access the com unit and flicked a switch, "Sickbay to bridge, communications."

"Uhura here, how can I help you Doctor?"

"Did I get any messages today? Not counting all the earache I got from the bridge that is, external messages only."

She chuckled lightly, "Keeping you busy? I have one new message sent directly to your office this afternoon. I can't access the content summary, it would seem its restricted medical material, Starfleet codes, exact source undisclosed. Looks like somebody should be feeling important."

He smiled, "looks like somebody just got s'more work to do you mean."

"Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"You can close my account, that way I can get some peace around here." He grumbled amenably and the two traded light conversation for a minute or two before the message once again had his full attention.

"Identification verified." The computer stated matter of factly and the RNA strand appeared once again on the viewing terminal before shrinking and receding to the top corner of the screen making way for the information that followed.

The main body of the text consisted of a request for his opinion, followed by instructions on how to adequately code his findings and reply. The rest was scattered pieces of research data, nothing conclusive from what he could see. He set to work analysing the RNA strand and the limited data accompanying it, running simulations to determine its nature and effect.

It didn't take long for him to determine that it was viral RNA and he paled as the pieces of the puzzle came together in his mind.

Working deep into the night he finally coded and saved his findings as an attachment to his reply which consisted of just four words, short, to the point and laden with concern:

'Has anyone been infected?'

xxx0xxx

Three days came and went without reply and McCoy could not quite hide the worry nagging at the corners of his mind.

The Enterprise was due to embark on a standard diplomatic mission on a small class M planet on the boarder of federation space called Gia, their ensemble consisted of the Captain, First Officer, Communications Officer and a small team of miscellaneous personnel deemed necessary to assess the planets potential for exchange of knowledge and resources. McCoy was among them, a world of medical knowledge and the Captains second wing-man to boot.

McCoy groused, not certain why it had to be him personally and not a member of his 'highly qualified and competent team' as he had put it, that accompanied the landing party on another 'damned hand shaking exercise'.

"Bones!" Jim waltzed up behind his CMO and clapped a hand on his shoulder, "Who'd have thought you'd be the one I'd hear complaining about doing a little work for a change?"

"Get off it Jim, you know how I hate this stuff," he replied to the side as the men made their way to the transporter room, "next you'll be asking me to don the damned dress blues."

"You know it wouldn't be quite as fun without you," he added, "besides, it'll help take your mind of whatever has been eating you this last few days."

McCoy thought better of trying to hide his discomfort opting instead for a sarcastic smile aimed at his friend and Captain, "Don't play counsellor to me Jim-boy, I can do that myself with a bottle of bourbon and a good book."

Jim laughed and it did the trick, his optimism was infectious and instantly put his friend at ease.

"C'mon Bones, I need you. Who else can I trust to keep me out've trouble?"

"Well, it depends what kind of trouble you mean. The blond haired, long legged kind I might struggle with."

Jim threw a faux look of indignance at the Doctor as they entered the transporter room.

"Is everyone ready?" He questioned as he positioned himself on the pad straightening his uniform. Nods of affirmative came from around the room, "Energise."

xxx0xxx

Negotiations were off to a good start, the Captain and Mr Spock were discussing the merits of diplomacy with the planetary council, Uhura had gone straight to work adjusting the universal translators to account for local colloquialisms and differences in dialect, botany and biosciences had already found at least five different potential uses for the planet's more common flora and McCoy had met a kindred spirit; a Gian by the name of Raos, Physician to Gia's version of High Chancellor.

Their economic growth had come on in leaps and bounds since the development of their own warp technology and they had already been approached by several of the galaxy's less savoury characters offering trade and alliance.

"Looks like we got here just in time," Kirk had said as they sat down for a meal at the end of the first day, "Chancellor, as you can imagine, not every race in this galaxy is as dedicated to fairness and diplomacy as the United Federation of Planets. That is what we offer; security, economic stability. We protect our allies and their interests, uphold interplanetary peace."

"Then indeed, we welcome your interest in our friendship." The Chancellor had been impressed with Jim's speeches, anyone would have thought he was a born diplomat, but then, that was as much why the Enterprise was Starfleet's first choice for touting the Federation as clearing up a particularly grizzly conflict – the man could negotiate his way out of anything. And where negotiation failed, sheer grit did the rest.

"To peace" they toasted and raised their glasses to the Federation's newest member.

The formal dinner went on long into the evening, and when at last they were in no danger of breaching etiquette where they to retire, McCoy made his fair wells and left for his room.

Bleary eyed and tired he had all but forgotten about the daunting message that had plagued his thoughts. He wanted no more than to retreat to the comfort of sleep, worries could wait for another day.

He rounded the corridor to the guest quarters as a young Gian woman approached him looking flustered, "Dr McCoy?" she questioned as she reached him.

"That's me, now what's gotten you in such a hurry?"

"You must come quickly, Raos has requested it."

"Oh, and did he say why?"

"No, but you must come, it is urgent" She insisted, pulling his sleeve in the direction from whence she had come.

"Well I guess you'd better lead the way."

He followed her a short way down a deserted corridor before she stopped and turned to face him, there was fear in her eyes, and regret.

"I'm sorry." She said before a pain exploded at the back of his head and his world plummeted into darkness.


A/N: Let me know if you like, let me know if you don't like! See that box just under this note? (If you'r on you IPhone it'll be a tiny wee thing, if you're on your PC it'll be a fair bit bigger) Anyway... Please review! lol